ADA calls for transparency in government review of private health insurance

Dr Rick Olive of the ADA
Dr Rick Olive of the ADA

In response to the Liberal government’s review of private health insurance, the Australian Dental Association [ ADA ] is calling for the assessment to provide clarity to patients while allowing dentists to maintain clinical independence.

The ADA has voiced the opinion that any changes made should seek to benefit consumers by keeping them informed of the availability of rebates for healthcare services.

Dr Rick Olive, president of the ADA, took a strong position towards seeking a better outcome for both dental providers and patients in the upcoming review.

“Notwithstanding that reform should be targeted to help drive down the cost of premiums, the real value of policies is in assisting policy holders to obtain the care they need and through rebates paid on services,” said Dr Olive.

“This upcoming enquiry must take account of the growing influence insurers are seeking to have in treatment delivery that suits their needs but not those of the patient and also the increasing gap between premiums and rebates which have not kept pace with CPI increases; leaving Australians increasingly out-of- pocket. We already know that in response to premium increases consumers have moved to cheaper policies yet in return these policies have even more exclusions and lower rebates for their healthcare”.

Dr Olive further warned that Australia needed to steer clear of the U.S model which sees private funds controlling a greater portion of public health.

“The health care sector in Australia cannot be allowed to go down the path of the United States where decisions about patient outcomes are increasingly taken out of the hands of health professionals who are best qualified and trained to make treatment recommendations. Any reforms to the regulation of the private health insurance industry must keep this in mind.”

Though Dr Olive vocalised the ADA’s concern for the upcoming review, he also clarified the associations willingness to contribute to a better model for the industry.

“The ADA would welcome a collaborative working relationship with the private health insurance industry to work on how consumers’ healthcare needs and interests can be better met so as to improve the value proposition offered by private health insurance.”

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